We’re living in an unprecedented time. Because of the coronavirus COVID-19, children all around the world are at home with no school, no play dates, and no certainty. We’re concerned about what’s going on out there, and we want to help keep our children occupied, educated, and active in our homes.
Use these tips to make a schedule for quarantine that will work well for your preschooler.
Curb Anxiety About the Coronavirus COVID-19
Our children are watching us, and they’ve certainly picked up on what’s happening. They’ve likely heard the word coronavirus multiple times, and in multiple contexts. You can help them feel better about it by:
- Modeling confidence. Face your own anxieties and handle them before having a conversation with your child.
- Talking about it. Ignoring the topic can actually make your child more anxious. Tell them the facts as they need to know about them, always being mindful of the emotional tone you’re setting.
- Sharing developmentally appropriate information. Don’t speculate, talk about exaggerated fears, or be otherwise overwhelming with your information. Answer the questions your child puts forth in a factual, reassuring way.
- Asking your child what they’ve heard. This will help you know what to address, what myths to clear up, and what worries are on your child’s mind.
- Providing reassurance.
- Teaching your children the measures you’re taking to stay safe. It can empower your child to know that washing hands is an actionable step they can take to prevent the spread of the virus.
Children love routine, and they thrive with it. If the word routine makes you squeamish, don’t worry. We’re not saying you have to schedule your day by the half hour (but you can, if that works for you!). The important thing is that your days follow a similar, predictable routine that your child can come to depend on.
First, keep your mealtimes and nap times the same as they normally are. Then, add in some or all of the following:
- outside time
- quiet time
- music and movement time
- sport or dance practice
- anything else your family needs
Get Your Child’s Input
Your child has ideas for what will make this time enjoyable. She also has ideas for how she can be responsible during this time. Ask for her input and use it when you can.
Keep a Normal Sleep Schedule
It’s tempting to treat this like a vacation, and you can certainly let some rules and routines go out the window right now. But if you keep your child on a normal sleep schedule, he’ll be better adjusted and capable of handling this time at home. Plus, it will help you make the transition back to school when the time comes.
Teach the same subjects your child is learning in preschool. At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we put together packets and videos for our students that teach what we learn when we’re all together. Take advantage of this time for one-on-one learning, and help your child develop in these areas:
- motor skills
- reading and writing
- music and movement
- social studies
- character development
Even when we aren’t under quarantine, it’s a good idea to involve your child in chores. But now that we’re all spending 24/7 under one roof with our families, and with nowhere to go, the house chores might feel like they’re multiplying. Involve chore time in your daily routine, and encourage your child to learn new skills.
Have Free Play
Free play is important for your child’s development. Give your child plenty of time to imagine, create, and play what she wants to play. Pull out different objects and encourage your child to think about how to use them in their play. For example, can a wooden spoon be a baton? A pirate’s telescope? A teacher’s pointing stick at the chalkboard?
Keep your social distance, but get outside! Try to do it every day if the weather allows it.
If you have a backyard
- Bring different toys outside to make the outdoors new
- Go exploring for bugs, blossoms, and budding berries
- Have picnics
- Cut the grass with children’s scissors (fine-motor practice!)
- Set up obstacle courses and relay races
- Read on a blanket
- Have free play
- Have a car wash with toy cars
- Practice sports or dance
If You Don’t Have a Backyard (or you want to go somewhere else)
- Go for walks or bike rides around the neighborhood (Just be sure to tell your child that if he sees a friend, waving is the most you can do)
- Go for a walk on a trail outside your neighborhood
- Find a field (no playgrounds!) where you can run
- Draw with sidewalk chalk. Make a road and town for toy cars.
- Eat your lunch on the front steps
- “Paint” the front door with water and a clean paintbrush
- Collect twigs and blossoms, and bring them inside to make crafts
- Walk around and look for signs of spring
How to Work While Your Child Is at Home
If you have to work from home while your child is at home with you, you’ll need to get even more creative. You can do it!
Consider when your child needs you the least. Does she take a nap? Does he wake up late, so you can get a few hours in before the day starts? Does she tend to play by herself willingly at certain times of the day? Will he work on schoolwork at the table next to you while you do your work?
Talk to your child about your workday, so she knows what to expect about your availability. Ask her what she can do on her own.
Give your child a visual routine to follow, so he can move through parts of the day without assistance.
Hang in there! You’re doing good work, and your child is lucky to have you!
To learn more about UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, contact us online or give us a call at (801) 523-5930